40 great films to see this summer: Spider-Man, Toy Story, Lion King, Tarantino and more

Toy Story 4: out on Friday, June 21st

We may be two Marvel movies and one DC film deep into 2019, but there are still plenty of traditional tent poles holding up the summer months, including Spider-Man: Far from Home and Toy Story 4. Expect the photorealistic remake of The Lion King to eat up the box office from July 19th. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw will likely capture the lion’s share of older viewers from July 31st. Watch out for horror sleeper hits in the Child’s Play reboot (which comes out tomorrow), Ari Aster’s Midsommar (July 5th) and It Chapter 2 (September 6th). Here’s how they line up.

Out now

Brightburn Siblings Brian and Mark Gunn – brother of James, he of off-colour jokes and Guardians of the Galaxy fame – invert Superman’s origins into a horror film, in which an alien baby is raised by an adoptive Kansas couple only for the parents to realise that their charge a bad ’un.

Out tomorrow

Child’s Play A mother, Karen (Aubrey Plaza), gives her son, Andy (Gabriel Bateman), a doll for his birthday, blissfully unaware that the toy is Chucky, the serial-killing plaything headliner of some eight films since his 1988 bow. Mark Hamill now voices the little monster.

Toy Story 4 Even if this fourth instalment in the 25-year-old franchise proves superfluous, who wants to miss hearing Mel Brooks as Melephant Brooks and Carl Reiner as Carl Reineroceros?

Wednesday, June 26th

What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek – Deep Space 9 The showrunner Ira Steven Behr and his DS9 squad, including the incomparable Colm Meaney, reunite to ponder well-loved plots and the legacy of the fan-favourite series. “We did wonderful work,” René Auberjonois says. “It was often very painful to do.” Top fan service.

Friday, June 28th

Apollo 11 Todd Douglas Miller, director of the wonderful Dinosaur 13, recounts the events leading up to July 20th, 1969, as the Apollo 11 mission sets out for the moon, 50 years before it became known as, erm, part of Mars.

In Fabric Peter Strickland, the giallo-obsessed genius behind The Duke of Burgundy and Berberian Sound Studio, takes a swipe at consumerism with this winning horror-comedy in which Marianne Jean-Baptiste purchases a haunted dress.

Support the Girls Breastaurant manager Lisa (Regina Hall) plays den mother to her colleagues, including single mom Danyelle (Shayna McHayle) and naive Maci (Haley Lu Richardson) in this winning and sisterly comedy from the American auteur Andrew Bujalski.

Yesterday Jack (Himesh Patel) is a struggling singer-songwriter who, following a mysterious blackout, awakens in a world where only he can remember The Beatles. Danny Boyle directs Richard Curtis’s best script since Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Tuesday, July 2nd

Zendaya and Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Far from Home
Zendaya and Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Far from Home

Spider-Man: Far from Home Set right after the events of Avengers: Endgame, the eighth standalone Spider-Man film of the 21st century sees Peter Parker (Tom Holland), still mourning the death of his mentor Tony Stark, head to Europe on a school trip, where he is promptly recruited by Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson).

Friday, July 5th

Anna Following the catastrophic Valerian, Luc Besson goes back to the girl and gun basics of Lucy and Leon, with a shoot ‘em up starring Cillian Murphy and Russian supermodel Sasha Luss.

Knife + Heart Yann Gonzalez pays homage to peak Brian De Palma with this queer erotic thriller set in the Parisian pornography sector of the 1970s and starring Vanessa Paradis as an aspiring smut auteur.

Midsommar: out on Friday, July 5th
Midsommar: out on Friday, July 5th

Midsommar A toxic American couple (played by the non-Americans Jack Reynor and Florence Pugh) journey to rural Sweden for a nightmarish holiday in Ari Aster’s eagerly awaited follow-up to Hereditary.

Vita & Virginia Film adaptation of Eileen Atkins’s 1992 play, an account of the love affair between Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf, played by Gemma Arterton and Elizabeth Debicki.

Wednesday, July 10th

Annabelle Comes Home The third headlining outing for the spooky doll and the seventh film from the Conjuring Universe drafts in the big guns. The franchise’s creator, James Wan, cowrites, and Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga reprise their roles as Ed and Lorraine Warren, ahead of next year’s Conjuring 3. Do keep up.

Friday, July 12th

Kursk: The Last Mission Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) directs a thriller inspired by the 2000 K-141 Kursk submarine disaster, in which 118 Russian sailors died. Matthias Schoenaerts, Colin Firth and Max von Sydow star.

Only You The rising stars Josh O’Connor (God’s Own Country) and Laia Costa (Victoria) make for a luminous pairing in the most grown-up meet-cute picture since Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset.

The Dead Don’t Die
Bill Murray, Chloë Sevigny and Adam Driver in The Dead Don't Lie

The Dead Don’t Die Bill Murray and Adam Driver head up a lovable cast in Jim Jarmusch’s winking shaggy-zombie picture, the director’s most knockabout effort since Roberto Benigni led a chorus of “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream” in Down by Law.

The Intruder Last month’s sleeper American hit sees the city slickers Meagan Good and Michael Ealy relocate to Napa Valley, where a friendly neighbour (Dennis Quaid) soon gets a little too friendly.

Monday, July 15th

Pavarotti This portrait of the late, much-loved operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti uses family archives, interviews and live footage. Ron Howard, on a blockbuster break, directs.

Friday, July 19th

Gwen William McGregor’s spooky debut feature, set in north Wales in the mid-19th century, sees a teenage girl (the Olivier-award winner Eleanor Worthington-Cox) struggle with an ailing mother (Maxine Peake), a ruthless mining company, suspicious locals and things that go bump in the night.

The Lion King: out on Friday, July 19th
The Lion King: out on Friday, July 19th

The Lion King Jon Favreau (Iron Man, The Jungle Book) directs the third photorealistic remake of a Disney animated feature of 2019. Donald Glover voices Simba; Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is Nala, and lion-sized box-office returns seem nailed on.

Friday, July 26th

Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans The first two Horrible Histories books were published in 1993. Since then the collection has grown to 23 school-library favourites, produced multiple spin-offs, and spawned a popular BBC children’s show. Kim Cattrall and Derek Jacobi bring the star wattage to the inevitable big-screen outing.

Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love Nick Broomfield may have come to international prominence as the tenacious doorstepper behind such scandalous music docs as Kurt & Courtney and Biggie & Tupac, but his more recent work is urgent (Tales of the Grim Sleeper) and thoughtful (Whitney: Can I Be Me). The sorry lot of the muse is examined in this account of the troubled romance between Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen.

Wednesday, July 31st

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson bicker as they take on Idris Elba’s genetically enhanced cyberterrorist in a spin-off of the popular franchise. So no chance of Vin Diesel and the rest of the gang cameoing, then. Right?

Friday, August 2nd

The Angry Birds Movie 2 Picking up where the surprisingly competent 2016 animation left off, this sequel sees all-out war between Bad Piggies and the video-game stars of the title. The returning voice actors Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride and Peter Dinklage are joined by Leslie Jones.

Friday, August 9th

Blinded by the Light In 1987, against the depravities of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, a teenager (Viveik Kalra) in Luton finds solace and joy in the music of Bruce Springsteen. The film’s director, Gurinder Chadha, returns to the crowd-pleasing form of Bend It Like Beckham.

Playmobil: The Movie The delightful Anya Taylor-Joy is transported to a plastic wonderland fashioned around the German toys of the title, where Daniel Radcliffe voices a sleek Bond-inspired spy and Adam Lambert is the dastardly Emperor Maximus.

The Sun Is Also a Star Deportation threatens the romance between a young quantum-physics student (Yara Shahidi) and a medical-school hopeful (Charles Melton) in this teen drama directed by Ry Russo-Young and based on the young adult novel by Nicola Yoon.

Wednesday, August 14th

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood: Quentin Tarantino’s new film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is a vast improvement on the exhausting The Hateful Eight
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood: Quentin Tarantino’s new film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is a vast improvement on the exhausting The Hateful Eight

Once upon a Time... in Hollywood Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), a TV star, and his long-time stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), cruise around the same 1960s Hollywood as the Manson Family and Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). It’s history by Quentin Tarantino, so expect revisions and splatter.

Dora & the Lost City of Gold Kids who grew up this century may be excited (and nostalgic) to learn that the Nickelodeon teen star Isabela Moner takes on the Latina heroine in this big-screen adaptation of the cartoon show. Others may be intrigued by the (splendid) idea that Danny Trejo voices Boots the monkey and Benicio del Toro is Swiper the fox.

JT LeRoy: out on Wednesday, August 14th
JT LeRoy: out on Wednesday, August 14th

JT LeRoy Savannah Knoop (Kristen Stewart) spends six years masquerading as JT LeRoy, the literary persona of the writer Laura Albert (Laura Dern), while the latter promotes Sarah and The Heart Is Deceitful above All Things in a film based on Knoop’s memoir Girl Boy Girl: How I Became JT LeRoy.

Transit Christian Petzold’s thrilling adaptation of Anna Seghers’s 1942 novel transports second World War intrigue to contemporary Marseilles. That displacement might sound gimmicky, but it translates into one of the most exciting and original films of the year. Franz Rogowski (Victoria) and Paula Beer (Marie) make for a mysterious romantic pairing, as the former assumes the identity of the latter’s dead husband.

Friday, August 23rd

Angel Has Fallen Did somebody call for a third instalment in the Has Fallen series? Anybody? Following the events of London Has Fallen, Gerard Butler’s secret-service agent is framed for an assassination attempt on President Morgan Freeman. Expect terrorists and explosions.

Hail Satan? The documentarian Penny Lane’s antidote to the Satanic Panic concerns the Satanic Temple, a nontheistic group started in 2013, dedicated to protecting the first amendment of the United States constitution (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”). No. They don’t actually believe in Satan.

Crawl Alexandre Aja (Piranha 3D, Horns) directs Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper as a father and daughter attempting to survive a hurricane in Florida.

Pain and Glory The 21st film by Pedro Almodóvar casts Antonio Banderas (named best actor at Cannes film festival for his efforts) as a version of the Spanish auteur as he recalls old romances, childhood chums, former collaborators and a lifelong love of cinema.

Friday, August 30th

The Souvenir The British auteur Joanna Hogg won the Grand Jury prize at Sundance with this semi-autobiographical coming-of-age drama about a withdrawn young woman (Honor Swinton Byrne) who meets a toxic, slightly older man. The Hogg regular Tilda Swinton plays her real-life daughter’s doting mum.

The Informer: out on Friday, August 30th
The Informer: out on Friday, August 30th

The Informer A former special-operations soldier (Joel Kinnaman) is sent to prison to infiltrate the Polish mob in this adaptation of Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström’s bestselling Scandi thriller Three Seconds.

The Mustang Inspired by a real prison rehabilitation program in Nevada, The Mustang is about a violent domestic abuser (Matthias Schoenaerts) who is placed in a wild-horse training programme while incarcerated. Jason Mitchell plays his mentor; Bruce Dern is the rancher who runs the programme.

Friday, September 6th

It Chapter 2 The concluding part of the $700 million 2017 hit adaptation of Stephen King’s scary-clown novel sees Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) return to Derry, Maine, necessitating a regrouping of the Losers’ Club, now comprised of Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa and James McAvoy.

We believe these release dates to be accurate, but they are liable to change